Prayer: A Precious Privilege & A Primary Priority
As I begin this article, I feel I should admit that I wrote about prayer for the June 2020 newsletter and it was the emphasis of our sermon a couple weeks back in the current series from Jesus’ Final Instructions to His Followers (John 13—17). But, in
preparing to write this month’s article, I couldn’t resist focusing more attention on the impact, importance, influence, and immensity of prayer.
Most everyone is keenly aware of how our society has been repeatedly riddled and rocked throughout this calendar year. The news cycle is spinning so quickly that we rarely have time to process yesterday’s headlines before we receive another set of sound bites to digest. Without any question or doubt, those of us who claim to be faithful followers of Christ should recognize the need to invest as much time in prayer as we can fit into our schedules. The exhortation from the Apostle Paul to “pray without ceasing” and God’s instructions in Psalm 46 for us to “be still and acknowledge that I am God” seem to be jump off the pages of Scripture. But even though we know in our minds that prayer is a powerful tool and a special privilege we’ve been given by God, I’ve heard many people question whether prayer is enough. Undoubtedly we should be consistently praying that God would give us the wisdom to do what needs to be done and also praying that He would give us the willingness to step up with obedience to do what His Word commands us to do. Whenever we make prayer a priority, no one can ever question whether we’ve done enough because it should lead to action on the part of God’s people! Recently I read something I’d like to share with you. It was written by someone named Cameron Thompson. Apparently he was a friend of Billy and Ruth Graham. He wrote: (bold emphasis is mine) “Men of God, whose prayers are recorded for us in the Bible, never read a book on prayer, never went to a seminar on prayer, never heard a sermon on prayer. They just prayed!
Satan fears prayer because God hears prayer. Satan will stop at nothing to distract a person from praying or to get him to postpone praying or, failing that, to discourage him in his praying. The center of power, it has been said, is to be found not in the summit meetings, the peace conferences, or the United Nations, but where a child of God prays for God’s will to be done in his life, in his home, and in the world about him.
We cannot pray and remain the same. We cannot pray and have our homes remain the same. We cannot pray and have the world about us remain the same. God has decreed to act in response to prayer. ‘Ask,’ He commands us … And Satan trembles for fear we will.
William Barclay has said that ‘in praying for those we love we must remember:
(1)the love of God wants the best for them;
(2) the wisdom of God knows what is best for them;
(3) the power of God can accomplish it!’
I’d like to close this with two related statements from A. W. Tozer and a personal comment from me. “We should always remember that without prayer you cannot win, and with it, you cannot lose … Prayer becomes effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.” —from Tozer. On a personal level, it always amazes me when I realize that even though Jesus was God in human form, He had a strong dependence on prayer. If our Creator needed to pray in order to deal with life here on earth, how much more do I need to invest time in prayerful fellowship with Our Father Who is in Heaven?
With prayer for God’s glory and praise for His grace …
And as always, with prayer for our ACEFC family, Pastor Greg